In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right …to a trial, by an impartial jury…and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him…and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. (6th Amendment to the US Constitution)
Felonies are serious crimes that, if convicted, may result in a prison term of at least one (1) year or more depending on the crime in question. Examples of Felonious crimes are: Robbery, Kidnapping, Drug Trafficking, Possession of Controlled Substances, Sex Crimes and Murder. If the police have probable cause to believe that a felony was committed by a person, that person will be arrested and transported to the local jail for booking.
Procedurally, Felony cases work their way through the criminal justice system in the following manner: First, if a defendant is in custody, there will be a probable cause hearing within 72 hours of arrest. There, a Justice of the Peace will review the Police Officer's probable cause statement to determine if there is probable cause to hold the defendant in custody.
If so, then a date for an initial arraignment is set. There, a Not Guilty Plea is entered and the matter is set for a Preliminary Hearing. At the "Prelim", the State has the burden to show that a crime was committed and the defendant committed that crime. The burden of proof is very low at a "prelim", really no more than what is required to make a probable cause determination. However, at the "Prelim" the State is required to provide hard evidence to support its case. Until this point, the matter is handled in the local Justice Court in front of a Justice of the Peace. However, if the State meets its burden, then the defendant is "bound over" to District Court for trial by jury.
In District Court, the defendant is again arraigned and a Not Guilty Plea is again entered. At that point, a date is set for Calendar Call and Trial. In District Court a Trial is held before a jury which is tasked with determining whether or not the facts presented support the charges levied against the defendant. The Judge is tasked whether determining all issues of law and evidence. If after Trial the defendant is acquitted, the case is closed and the defendant is freed. However, if the defendant is found guilty then the matter is set for sentencing.
At sentencing, the Judge will hear from the defendant, his counsel, the State and the victims, if any. In rendering his decision, the Judge will balance the aggravating and mitigating circumstances and will factor any restitution made by the defendant and any acts or conduct demonstrating remorse by the defendant. The Judge has discretion to sentence a defendant to the minimum or the maximum term and, where there are multiple counts, to have those terms run consecutively or concurrently, depending on the circumstances. The only limit on the Judges discretion is the rule that the minimum sentence must not exceed 40% of the maximum sentence. Additionally, the Judge has the discretion to grant the defendant a term of probation in lieu of a prison sentence.
Substantively, your case starts when this office receives discovery from the Prosecutor or City Attorney. Discovery consists of the arresting officer's written report which includes his probable cause determination, including any statements made by the complaining witness and any other witnesses and whatever physical evidence the police recovered as part of their investigation.
If there is a substantial problem with the Police Officer's investigation such that it is apparent there was no probable cause to arrest, then thatproblem will become the basis of our defense and a trial will likely be held. However, if a trial would likely result in a conviction and a harsher sentence, then we will negotiate the case on your behalf and ensure that, at worst, you are sentenced to the minimum on whatever offense you are finally charged with.
If you are arrested for a Felony offense, our goal is to ensure that every action the State and its agents have and will take with regard to your case, and every allegation, every piece of evidence and every witness the State brings to bear against you is thoroughly questioned and analyzed. Should you be convicted of this crime, it will not be because your attorney neglected his duty to you.
When charged with a felony, the criminal defense attorney you choose can be the most important decision you make. Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Eric Roy believes that every person charged with a felony deserves the most dedicated and aggressive representation possible. For Mr. Roy, the quickest way to conclude a case is not always the best way. For that reason, Mr. Roy is proud to say that he pursues cases with only the client's best interests in mind and does not seek to quickly settle in his own best interest.
If you have been charged with a felony and require personalized service and dedication to your case, contact Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Eric Roy today.